Sunday 26 February 2017 11:35am
Walking to Jutland Street is the debut poetry collection of Michael Steven, an Auckland poet with strong connections to Dunedin, published by Otago University Press.
From car workshops to tinnie houses, from school playgrounds to the hidden lives on the margins of society, Steven's poetry captures the transitory with an intense clarity, distilling everyday experiences of New Zealand life into an encompassing poetic vision.
An astute and sympathetic observer of gritty, day-to-day urban reality, Steven is equally a writer steeped in literary tradition, Buddhist mysticism and world-historical narrative.
His literary cousins are Olds, Orr, Mitchell, Dickson, Johnson and Baxter.
The title poem 'Walking to Jutland Street' vividly recreates a dreamlike odyssey of young fringe dwellers from Dunedin's inner city to the industrial wharf zone, and their encounters with inebriated, surreal, sometimes nightmarish inhabitants.
Elsewhere are clear-sighted poems about friends and lovers, family and memory, travel poems (in 2016 the poet slept in the last bedroom of explorer Vasco da Gama), and disturbing visions of an imagined future.
Michael Steven is a powerful emerging voice in New Zealand literature.
Michael Steven was born in 1977. His poems, essays and short fiction have appeared in Brief, IKA, Landfall, Phantom Billstickers Café Reader and Poetry New Zealand Yearbook. He has worked as an electrician, a stage manager and a bookstore clerk. He lives in West Auckland with his partner and son.
Paperback, 150 x 230 mm, 88 pp, ISBN 978-1-98-853118-2, $27.50